If you've read many of my reviews, you're probably aware that I am not necessarily a gear snob. I have high performance standards for all of the fishing gear I test and review but I have equally high standards when it comes to affordability for the common working man. I remember the days when I'd show up to big regional tournaments with two cheap spinning rods because they were all I could afford. Fishing doesn't have to be incredibly expensive and over the years, I've learned about some less expensive alternatives that offer plenty of performance without emptying your bank account.
I've been able to test the Piscifun Alloy M casting reel for the past few months and I'll admit; I didn't quite know what to expect. I've tested quite a few baitcasters in this price range (let's call it between $75 and $100) and I haven't had the best experience thus far. Regardless, I rigged it up with some 15-pound fluorocarbon and made a concerted effort to keep an open mind.
To get straight to the point, this reel is going to surprise people because it definitely surprised me. I've put it through a lot and it feels like a $150+ reel in your hands. As you read through my review, try your best to keep the $90 price point out of your head.
Impressive castability, especially with smaller lures
I fish a lot of smaller crankbaits throughout much of the year. A lot of folks prefer them in cold water but I also like 'em when the water temperatures get near the 90-degree mark. As the bass get lethargic during the heat of the summer, something about a more subtle profile seems to do the trick for me.
I purposely rigged a 1.0 Strike King KVD HC Squarebill onto the Piscifun Alloy M casting reel. Measuring just 2 inches and weighing a diminutive 1/4 ounce, it can be a booger to cast without the right setup.
Even with 15-pound fluorocarbon, I was incredibly impressed by both the casting distance and accuracy while using the Alloy M. Its magnetic braking system has 12 magnets which allow for quick and easy adjustments on the fly. I honestly haven't used the braking system a whole lot because even without the brakes applied, this reel casts like a dream.
Due to this castability and its affordable price point, I can see this reel being an excellent option for both beginners and more experienced anglers. If I were to blindfold you and have you cast this reel, I'm willing to bet you wouldn't guess it was just $90.
Nice line management
A lot of the reels I've tested in this approximate price range tend to underperform in regards to line management. I've dealt with the line springing off spools and no matter what adjustments I've made, some of those reels just wouldn't cast without a few loops getting into the spool. I am not a patient man and that didn't really fly with me.
The Piscifun Alloy M, however, pleasantly surprised me in this respect. It looped up on me a few times while I was skipping a jig but a tiny turn of the tension knob stopped that problem fairly quickly.
It's worth noting that I also purposely used a pretty cheap fluorocarbon line while testing this reel. It stayed packed on the spool nicely and I didn't have to hassle with any problems.
A low-profile look with a sturdy feel
I've written about this before, so I'm not going to get too far into it. But some of these ultra low-profile baitcasters I've tested over the years just don't give me enough to grab onto. I very well might be in the minority there but I feel like some reels were made with too much worry on weightlessness and not enough concentration on durability and performance.
I feel like the Alloy M offers a really nice blend of it all. The frame is plenty small and balances very nicely on a rod but it also feels sturdy without any flex whatsoever. The frame is made from ADC12-grade aluminum and it's even said to withstand saltwater fishing.
I haven't had an opportunity to test it in the salt yet but seeing as how I live about two hours from the coast, it would be an enormous plus if the Alloy M handled saltwater well.
The drag is no joke
Going into this review, the very first thing I tested on the Alloy M was its drag strength. For a $90 reel, I honestly didn't have very high expectations but man... this drag system is legit. It's designed with four large carbon drag washers and one oversize Hamai CNC brass gear. This Hamai cut technology allows for more teeth which results in smooth line output and an impressive 22 pounds of drag.
If you're looking to add to your fishing reel collection without spending a bunch of money, don't be afraid to give this one a try. I've liked it so far and its performance has really exceeded my expectations. It will stay in my boat and I won't be afraid to fish it in any situation.